I wish I could be a stay-at home mum.
I would love to dedicate myself to looking after and bringing up my daughter full time, being there when she wakes up in the morning, witnessing all her "firsts" and just spending time with her.
Unfortunately, that's a luxury I can't afford.
It's been difficult trying to make ends meet these past few months and my husband has had to deal with all the pressure of having to maintain three adults, one baby and four dogs (oh, and don't forget the budgie, too) on one income. It's just not feasible. So, as stress levels in this house threaten to go through the roof, I've been sending off my CV, applying for jobs and coming out of my hermit-like existence to attend interviews, give demo classes and do psychometric tests, leaving my nearly-four-month-old baby in the care of my mother-in-law.
In any case, if I'd been on maternity leave, I would have gone back to work by now, this being Mexico where paid maternity leave is only about three months. No maternity leave for me, though. In my life before becoming a mum I was self-employed, teaching private English classes, and had quite a reasonable number of students where we used to live. Then we moved here when I was around five months pregnant, so I had to start again from scratch. Through a little advertising in our local area (mostly just in our street), I got a few new students and was teaching (part-time) right up to the day before the birth. After about a month and a half, I decided it would be a good time to resume classes (driven by a combination of not wanting to "abandon" my new students for too long and needing the money), so two of my students returned to continue studying with me, and the rest...didn't.
So the unreliable nature of this kind of work was highlighted for me, yet again. The same thing happened last year when we went back to England for three weeks and I lost about half of my students. What's the lesson here? I can never take a break, ever, for fear of losing students!
There are other disadvantages, too: no paid holiday, no sick leave, no benefits, no stable income, students may suddenly drop out or not pay on time or want to take a holiday... I can't fully switch off from being a mum, as Little One is always close by; I hear if she starts crying and I sometimes have to pop out of the class to attend to her. I feel less professional.
Receiving a salary and all the legal entitlements that come with it would make a great difference to our economic situation and our peace of mind. It would be nice to get out of the house every day, too, meet more people at work and perhaps even make some friends.
On the other hand, there are obvious advantages to being able to work from home and having more control over my working hours, especially while Little One is still so young. In fact, that is what I had been planning to do; we conditioned a little space in the house as a classroom which works pretty well. The logistics of going out to work are complicated, to say the least, and I really don't know how it would all function. To get anywhere not within walking distance is a nightmare since I don't drive!
I suppose we'll just see what happens (I seem to use this phrase way too much). Either way, I will have to divide myself between work and motherhood and try to find a balance that works for us all.